For best results, avoid making on a humid or rainy day.
• 2-3 Tbsp thoroughly crushed peppermint candies*
• 3 egg whites
• Pinch salt
• 1 cup sugar (use superfine if you have it)
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar
• 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
* Pulverize candies by placing them in sealed, doubled-up freezer bags. Use a meat mallet (smooth side) or hammer to gently pound them into a fine powder.
1 Preheat oven to 300°F.
4 Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the crushed peppermints (and the mini chocolate chips, if you are using).
5 Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. If you are using parchment paper, you can put a dollop of the meringue mixture in the corners of the pans before placing the parchment paper on them, to help secure the parchment paper in place (pastry chef's trick, thank you, Shuna). Either use a spoon to drop teaspoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the cookie sheets (spaced an inch apart) or use a pastry piping bag (can make one with a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off) to pipe mounds (1 1/2 inches wide) onto the lined cookie sheet.
6 Put the cookie sheets in the 300°F oven, close the door. Wait for one minute only, then turn the oven OFF. Do not open the door for another 3 hours. You can leave them in the oven overnight. The meringues will gently cook in the residual heat of the oven. When done, the meringues will be lightly crisp on the outside and light and airy on the inside. If they are still a little chewy after 3 hours, just let them dry out for a few more hours.
Makes 24 meringue cookies. Store in an airtight container.